Chronic metal toxicity is a concern in the Canadian Arctic because of the findings of high metal levels in wildlife animals and the fact that traditional food constitutes a major component of the diet of indigenous peoples. We examined exposure to trace metals through traditional food resources for Inuit living in the community of Qikiqtarjuaq on Baffin Island in the eastern Arctic. Mercury, cadmium, and lead were determined in local food resources as normally prepared and eaten. Elevated concentrations of mercury ( > 50 micrograms/100 g) were found in ringed seal liver, narwhal mattak, beluga meat, and beluga mattak, and relatively high concentrations of cadmium and lead ( > 100 micrograms/100 g) were found in ringed seal liver, mussels, and kelp. Quantified dietary recalls taken seasonally reflected normal consumption patterns of these food resources by adult men and women ( > 20 years old) and children (3-12 years old). Based on traditional food consumption, the average daily intake levels of total mercury for both adults (65 micrograms for women and 97 micrograms for men) and children (38 micrograms) were higher than the Canadian average value (16 micrograms). The average weekly intake of mercury for all age groups exceeded the intake guidelines (5.0 micrograms/kg/day) established by the Joint Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization Expert Committee on Food Additives and Contaminants. The primary foods that contributed to metal intake for the Baffin Inuit were ringed seal meat, caribou meat, and kelp. We review the superior nutritional benefits and potential health risks of traditional food items and implications for monitoring metal contents of food, clinical symptoms, and food use.
A total of 890 samples of fresh produce obtained from Norwegian markets were examined in order to assess the bacteriological quality of the products and their potential public health risk. The samples comprised lettuce, pre-cut salads, growing herbs, parsley and dill, mushrooms and strawberries. The samples were analysed for the presence of thermotolerant coliform bacteria (TCB), Escherichia coli O157, Salmonella spp., Listeria monocytogenes, Staphylococcus spp., and Yersinia enterocolitica. Neither Salmonella spp. nor E. coli O157 were isolated. For all product groups included, TCB were isolated from a small proportion of samples. Three samples harboured L. monocytogenes; one of the isolates belonging to serogroup 1 (champignons) and two of the isolates belonging to serogroup 4 (Chinese leaves and strawberries). Staphylococci were isolated from a relatively large proportion of the samples of strawberries and mushrooms. However, only four isolates were identified as S. aureus (non-toxinogenic). By the use of PCR, the presence of Y. enterocolitica was indicated in a few of the samples of lettuce, whilst no positive samples were found using a culturing method. The study shows that the occurrence of pathogenic bacteria and TCB in the products analysed was quite low. Nevertheless, the results indicate that the type of products analysed may contain pathogenic bacteria and thereby represent a risk to the consumers in regard to food-borne diseases.
During 2000 and 2001, an outbreak of human salmonellosis occurred in Sweden and Norway, caused by Salmonella livingstone. In this study, the genotypic differences between three strains obtained from food sources during the outbreak, two human strains and 27 more or less unrelated strains were analysed, using the three methods; automated ribotyping, pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD). Each method was evaluated regarding its discriminatory ability, reproducibility and typeability. Simpson's discriminatory index calculated for each method was 0.556 for automated ribotyping, 0.766 for PFGE and 0.236 for RAPD. The reproducibility, defined as the minimum similarity between individual replicates in a cluster analysis, was 96% for automated ribotyping and PFGE, and 90% for RAPD. All the strains were typeable with each method. When combining results for the three genotyping methods, it was found that RAPD did not increase the discriminatory index and was therefore excluded from further analysis. Using a combination of the results obtained from ribotyping and PFGE (D=0.855), two strains that had been isolated from feed factories during 1998 were shown to be identical to the outbreak strain, indicating a possible route of contamination due to a clone of Salmonella livingstone persisting in feed producing facilities. No connection to poultry was established.
Bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus; n = 5) blubber, liver, muscle, kidney, heart, diaphragm, tongue, and uncooked maktak (bowhead whale epidermis and blubber) were collected during subsistence hunts at Barrow, AK, USA (1997-1999) to measure concentrations of persistent organochlorine contaminants (OCs). The exposure of humans to OCs via bowhead whales and other biota [fish, ringed (Phoca hispida) and bearded seals (Erignathus barbatus), and beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas)] as part of a subsistence diet was evaluated. Concentrations of OCs in bowhead whale tissues were correlated with lipid content (P
The objective of the present study was to estimate the dietary intake of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), particularly benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P), as well as to identify the principal dietary sources of such compounds in the Spanish adult population. The study included 40,690 subjects aged 35 to 64 years from five regions of Spain that were included in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC)-Spain cohort. Usual food intake was estimated by personal interview through a computerized version of a dietary history questionnaire. The estimations of B[a]P and total PAHs were made, taking into account the country where the determinations of content of these compounds in the foods came from and the year of publication. The mean intake of B[a]P in the population was 0.14 microg/day, and the mean intake of total PAHs was 8.57 microg/day. Both for B[a]P and total PAHs, women had a significantly lower mean intake than men, and older people consumed lesser amounts than younger people. Furthermore, the intake was higher in the northern regions. There were no significant differences by smoking status. The food groups of meat and meat products, cereals, and oils and fats contribute 55.5% to the total B[a]P intake, while cereals and meat and meat products contribute 61% to the total PAH consumption. Our estimations of B[a]P intake were lower than in the United Kingdom and The Netherlands, were similar to those found in other studies from Spain and Italy, and were higher than those in the United States and Norway.
From a population of 8918 farmers, 237 were selected whose consumption of locally produced foods was high. The subjects' water sources, private wells, were of different degrees of acidity. Significant associations between pH (median 6.7, range 4.7-8.6) of the drinking water and element concentrations were found. The correlation was negative for aluminium (Al; median 0.07 mumol/l), cadmium (Cd; 0.44 nmol/l), copper (Cu; 0.24 mumol/l) and lead (Pb; 1.9 nmol/l), and positive for calcium (Ca; 0.62 mmol/l) and magnesium (Mg; 0.21 mmol/l). Associations could not be found between the pH of, or element concentrations in, the water and concentrations of A1 (0.17 mumol/l), Mg (0.86 mmol/l) and selenium (Se; 1.0 mumol/l) in plasma, Cd (2.0 nmol/l), Pb (0.19 mumol/l) and mercury (Hg; 13 nmol/l) in blood, or A1 (12 mumol/mol creatinine) and Cu (11 mumol/mol creatinine) in urine. The concentrations of Hg in blood and Se in plasma were related to fish consumption, Cd and Pb in blood to smoking, A1 in urine to antacid intake, Pb in blood to rifle activities and hunting, and Hg in blood to hunting. Acid precipitation has an effect on element concentrations in drinking water, but not on the retention of those elements in the subjects investigated.
Organochlorines and heavy metals have bioaccumulated in Arctic wildlife, which is an important food source for the Inuit. In this study, we have developed a statistical model to describe the population distribution of contaminant exposure and the usual intake of the high-end contaminant consumers. Monte Carlo methods are used to account for variations due to seasonal dietary pattern and contaminant concentrations. Distribution of the dietary intake of the contaminants of most concern-mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), chlordane, and toxaphenes-are described. Over 50% of the residents had dietary exposure levels exceeding the tolerable daily intake or provisional tolerable daily intake for Hg, toxaphene, and chlordane (83, 91, and 71% for men and 73, 85, and 56% for women, respectively). The high-end consumers (i.e. the 95th centile) have intake levels 6 times higher than the provisional tolerable weekly intake of Hg, and over 20 times the tolerable daily intake of chlordane and toxaphene. Assessment of health risks of the relative high contaminant exposure in this community must also consider the nutritional, economical, cultural, and social importance of these traditional foods. A comprehensive risk management scheme has yet to be developed.
We assess lead contamination of Greenland seabirds killed with lead shot having studied thick-billed murre and common eider, the two most important species in the diet. The lead concentration is very high in meat of eiders killed with lead shot (mean 6.1 microg/g-wet wt, 95% CL 2.1-12). This level is about 44 times higher than in drowned eiders and eight times higher than in shot murres. Analyzing whole breasts instead of sub-samples reveals about seven times higher lead levels in birds' meat. We conclude that in some cases the lead intake by Greenland bird eaters will largely exceed the FAO/WHO tolerable lead intake guideline and that lead shot is a more important source of lead in the diet than previously estimated.
We examined the influence of widely varied consumption of fatty fish from the Baltic Sea and of age on plasma concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polychlorobiphenylols (OH-PCBs), 2, 2-bis(4-chlorophenyl)-1,1,1-trichloroethane (4,4'-DDT), 2, 2-bis(4-chlorophenyl)-1,1-dichloroethane (4,4'-DDE), 2,2',4, 4'-tetrabromodiphenyl ether (BDE-47), hexachlorobenzene (HCB), and pentachlorophenol (PCP) in Latvian and Swedish men. Both age and fish consumption were significantly correlated with the concentrations of [sigman]PCB, [sigman]OH-PCB, 4,4'-DDE, 4,4'-DDT, and HCB. In the case of BDE-47, no significant relationship with age was observed, and fish consumption had the largest relative effect on plasma concentrations of this contaminant. This relationship may be a result of exposure to BDE-47 having been more recent than that of PCBs and DDE, or because the half-life of BDE-47 may be shorter than that of PCB and DDE. Latvian men demonstrated higher plasma levels of DDE and DDT but lower levels of [sigman]PCB and PCP than did Swedish men. The corresponding levels of HCB and BDE-47 were similar in both countries. The Spearman's rank correlation coefficient obtained by comparing the level of the metabolite 4-hydroxy-2,3,3',4',5-pentachlorobiphenyl (4-OH-CB107) to the combined levels of its parent compounds, 2,3,3',4, 4'-pentachlorobiphenyl (CB-105) and 2,3',4,4',5-pentachlorobiphenyl (CB-118), was higher than the median correlation coefficient obtained upon comparing the level of this metabolite to all other possible combinations of two PCB levels. No other increased correlation between metabolite and parent PCB concentration was observed.
Total mercury concentration in hair, sampled at delivery, was determined in women living in an area polluted with atmospheric emissions of mercury from a metal smelter, (n = 122) and in a control area (n = 75). Information on fish consumption was obtained at the 10th week of pregnancy. The average mercury concentration in hair was 0.27 mg/kg (range 0.07-0.96 mg/kg), which is somewhat lower than previously reported for pregnant women in Sweden and very low compared with levels in fish-eating populations in other parts of the world. Women living in the polluted area had significantly lower mercury levels in hair than women in the control area when comparing groups with quantitatively similar consumption of freshwater fish. Possibly, the population in the smelter area does not catch fish in the neighbourhood and/or the fish in the control area has elevated mercury levels. Consumption of freshwater fish > or = once a week resulted in approximately twice as high hair mercury levels as in those who did not eat freshwater fish at all. Also consumption of saltwater fish > or = once a week resulted in significantly higher hair mercury levels than in those consuming saltwater fish or = once a week) consumption of freshwater fish but decreased during this period in women who did not eat freshwater fish at all, which could be explained by decreased exposure during pregnancy and measurement in recently formed hair.